The AFCON draw was made last week and teams have known their group stage opponents as far as AFCON 2022 slated in Cameroon is concerned. The talks concerning the draw have been exciting due to the pairings that exist in various groups after the draw.
Host Cameroon will face sides like Burkina Faso and Ethiopia while African egg-heads like Morocco will play against Ghana in an interesting Group B clash.
However, one of the big gists in the draw has been in view of the clash that will take place between former Champions Egypt and Nigeria.
They are both topsides on the African continent and there is no doubt about that.
Their pedigree and record at the AFCON level speak volumes for themselves.
But can both sides stake a claim as the favourite for the Championship that holds in Cameroon next year?
Their bragging right could be matched with the threat coming from AFCON finalist Senegal and Algeria.
It was the latter that succeeded last time in Egypt 2019 when they won the coveted trophy on African Podium.
That pictures from their 2019 triumph could rekindle the impact the North Africans (Algeria), made at the Championship two years back.
And with their players still in top form, they can still get their hands on the trophy again.
It would take a spirit form & effort from any side to stop them from defending the title they won two years ago.
Topsides like Nigeria are aiming to win it more especially as Gernot Rohr is under pressure to make his mark on the continent in order to save his job.
But that aspiration wouldn’t go untested in the long run during the tournament.
Even Zambia cannot be left out of the mix, based on this regard as they surprised Ivory Coast before claiming the AFCON trophy in 2012.
Following the draw, Senegal’s quest to win their first-ever African title will continue as they possess one of the finest players on the continent.
But Zambia (in 2012) and Tunisia (in 2004) has proven that name alone don’t just guarantee success on this platform.
Even Ivory Coast could attest to this as they couldn’t even win it when they had the star trio of Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Gervinho (Arsenal), and Solomon Kalou (Chelsea) leading their attacking line-up.
It’s obvious that Senegal’s talented players like Sadio Mane, Balde Keita and Idrissa Gana Gueye are not a guarantee to the African crown.
Even Nigeria and host Nation Cameroon can lay claims to the title even just on account of guys like Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Bayern Munich) and Joel Matip (Liverpool), Victor Osimhen and Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City) respectively.
But Algeria’s click and consistency could present them as the candidate for the trophy as Riyad Mahrez and Yacine Brahimi looked set to inspire the Algerians to a second straight AFCON trophy following the draw that was made last week.